Privacy group criticises ICO Google Wi-Fi response

Campaign group Privacy International has said that the Information Commissioner's Office was premature in giving Google the all-clear over its collection of Wi-Fi data.Simon Davis, the director of Privacy International, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the ICO had pre-empted the decisions of a number of privacy and law enforcement authorities around the world by saying that Google Wi-Fi data contained no 'meaningful details'.

Campaign group Privacy International has said that the Information Commissioner's Office was premature in giving Google the all-clear over its collection of Wi-Fi data.

Simon Davis, the director of Privacy International, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday that the ICO had pre-empted the decisions of a number of privacy and law enforcement authorities around the world by saying that Google Wi-Fi data contained no 'meaningful details'.

"Dozens of US states, Scotland Yard, the Australian Federal Police, German investigators and regulators across the world have been working to determine the extent of the data collection," said Davis in a statement. "They have not yet arrived at any conclusion. Yet the ICO, in a casual visit to Google... has seen fit to conclude what the combined forces of the world’s police and prosecuting authorities have not yet concluded."

The ICO visited Google premises on 15 July to assess samples of the data Google had collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks. The ICO said on Tuesday that it recognised it had only seen a sample of the UK data, and that investigations by other countries' data protection authorities may find personally identifiable data had been collected in those countries.

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